Comet 21P Visual Observation & Sketch
Taken by Martin McKenna on September 3, 2018 @ Maghera, N. Ireland,
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I had a nice observing session this evening (Sept 3/4th) in a dark sky before moon rise. Hunted down comet 21P/ Giacobini-Zinner quite quickly, it was an easy catch in the 8 S.Cass, the comet was only five degrees above the neighbours roof top, however as the comet climbed in altitude viewing conditions improved. The coma is a much more extended object, slightly fan shaped and more diffuse in nature (D.C: 4). Central condensation still evident as a soft disk with star like central condensation. Suggestion of forms inside the coma on the sunward side which couldnt be seen with clarity. The tail filled the restricted telescopic field (18 arc mins) and was of the long and straight type Ia gas variety, this tail was tenuous and of very low surface brightness, however I could perceive a subtle blue colour with direction vision and perhaps two streamers with averted vision. Comet exhibited clear rapid motion to the south during the course of 20 mins. Also observed in 24x70mm binos sharing the same field as Capella, the coma looked much more extended in this instrument. The best views will likely be late in the night later this week when the moon moves from the sky for good.

Included is a crude sketch as seen through the 8 S. Cass at 26mm 23.00 BST.
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Nice drawing! I too looked at 21P this morning, Sept 4, 2018, about 5:00 to 5:30 am EDT (in New Jersey, USA). Astronomical twilight started at 4:56 am and the 36% illuminated moon was about 24 deg away. Nevertheless, 21P was high overhead, out of reach of the ground fog, and easy to find near Capella with my 15x56 binoculars. While somewhat faint, the first thing that struck me was that the coma was quite elongated — more like a tail. Can’t wait ‘til the moon is out of the way.
Posted by JoeStieber 2018-09-04 16:53:03
22 thumbs up
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